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COVID-19 Government info for businesses

Find out about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), how it may affect your business and how you can stay updated.

COVID-19: Information for businesses

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Flexible working arrangements

Being flexible about how, when and where people work can help to increase engagement and productivity, and help keep turnover low.

What you must do

From their first day on the job, any employee can request a flexible work arrangement (and there's no limit to how many times they can ask). You have to: 

  • give their request fair consideration
  • respond to their request no later than one month after receiving it.

You can refuse if:

  • the request conflicts with the employee’s collective agreement, or
  • there are one or more of the following recognised business grounds for refusal:
    • you wouldn’t be able to reorganise work among other staff
    • you can’t recruit more staff
    • it would have a negative impact on quality
    • it would have a negative impact on performance
    • there’s not enough work during the periods the employee wants to work
    • planned structural changes
    • it would cause too much additional cost
    • it would impact on your ability to meet customer demand.

Read more on the Employment New Zealand website about:

Employees affected by domestic violence can ask for short-term flexible working.

Employees affected by domestic violence can ask for short-term flexible working.

There are different rules for handling these requests.

Domestic violence leave

Types of flexible work arrangements

There are many different flexible work arrangements. These are some of the most common.

Reduced or increased hours

It’s up to you and your employee to agree on the number of hours they need to work to complete the job. They might ask to reduce their hours, and you might agree that they could still get their job done in less time. Because you don’t have to pay them for the hours they don’t work, their reduced hours might have a positive impact on the business.

If an employee requests extra hours for extra pay, and you know there’s enough extra work for them to do safely and don’t think it will negatively impact their performance, you could increase their hours.

Flexible hours

You can give your employees a range of hours to work within, and they can choose the actual hours they work. For example, you could say work hours are anytime between 7am and 7pm, and your employees just need to complete eight hours of work between those hours.


In a job share, two people share the tasks and responsibilities of a full-time position. They are both employees, and need separate employment agreements. Each person works part-time, and is paid and entitled to leave according to their work pattern.

Working remotely

If technology and job type allow, you could allow employees to work from home or another location. This could be for an agreed number of days each week or month, or whenever they want to.

Paid study leave

If an employee’s studying towards a qualification that relates to their job, you can agree to let them spend some of their work time each week studying, instead of carrying out their usual tasks.

Build your own workplace policies

Use our Workplace Policy Builder to create policies tailored to your workplace. The tool has tips to help you decide what to put in and leave out of your policy. You’ll also find common mistakes employers make and ways to avoid them. 

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